Many people feel caged, paradoxically surrounded by their busy environments, and obsessively search for an escape. Everyone has their own way of finding this escape. There are those who love to play sports, those who immerse themselves in art, those who meticulously organize quick trips, and then there are us, the gamers, who take refuge in extraordinary virtual worlds. Are you ready for an ambitious adventure? Here is my The Survivalists review on PC (Steam).
The idea behind the new title by Team 17 is simple and very interesting. You are scattered on an island which offers many opportunities of all kinds. Do you want to escape from the island to go home? You can do it. Do you want to make the island your empire by building complex objects and training an army of monkeys? You can do it. Do you want to discover other islands and become an explorer? Nobody will stop you from chasing your dreams!
SEEKING FOR FREEDOM
It all starts with a man aboard a raft, crashing on the shore of what appears to be a tropical island with coconuts, berries, wood, stones, monkeys, totems, treasures, bats, enemies, maps, keys, mazes, and caves. If by reading the previous line you have felt curiosity, then I have glorious news for you!
If you have felt confused and, with a bewildered air, have looked around to understand where you have ended up, The Survivalists may not be for you. The very high number of options you can choose from to continue in your adventure is the great strength of the game, which sees customization as a central concept. From the selection of the appearance of your avatar to the choice of the color of the monkeys.
Human beings love freedom, we have always chased it, and over the centuries, many had to fight hard to get it. We can also see this aspiration in our life. I mean, what teenager does not dream of the moment when he can go and live alone, finally free from the rules imposed by his parents?
Almost everyone, only to realize that in order to live alone it is necessary to find a job, pay bills, prepare food, wash the dishes, do the laundry, and iron. The additional levels of freedom must be introduced gradually into a person’s life, to prevent them from being lost along the way.
This point of view, unfortunately, does not seem to be shared by Team 17. In my opinion, the creators of the game have failed to properly guide the castaways, who, just like in reality, must explore the territory and discover things from time to time.
The main menu is also very disappointing, as it is built in a very confusing way, like when using the ‘how to play’ section. This is nothing more than a very long list of possible micro-actions within the game. The result is that it forces you every time to consult the entire list, as there is no grouping into macro-categories, which mostly irritated me.
The game, at least at the beginning, proceeds relatively fast. However, with the increase of your knowledge and the complexity of the actions that you need to carry out, the times get longer. The first completed objectives convey a gratifying feeling of success.
You are surviving with nothing but your hands and a few simple raw materials. The path of the castaway is a bit like that of humanity itself. It starts with shaping a stone, crafting a weapon, and training animals. This feeling of growth is constant, as the title does not fail to provide players with continuous prosperity and minor challenges to complete.
In all this evolution, however, a big problem arises. When starting the game, the options may feel limited, but over time the roads to take become endless. This may sound good, but unquestionably not! The challenges are not lacking, but they are so many and varied that they give the feeling of never ending.
The same goes for the exploration of the territory and for the decisions you can make with your avatar. Another big problem with The Survivalists is monotony. Yes, the monotony, because the actions, although different, are always very similar to each other, and often have to be repeated many times to get the desired result.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
Sometimes the details make the difference. The Survivalists presents some delightful ideas from this point of view. For example, to save the game, you need to build a bed and sleep. The idea of imposing a limited capacity on the luggage of my castaway is also appreciable.
Often I have to plan my actions in order not to find myself without the necessary tools. This is a situation that reflects very well on a castaway (and experienced by my protagonist), as you must be careful not to die of hunger. Remember to take those foodies with you!
Planning things in such a chaotic context isn’t easy at all, but after a while you get used to it. However, some inconvenient mechanics turn out to be more automatic. How many afternoons have you enjoyed with your friends wandering around the city without an actual destination? That’s why the multiplayer mode could be the salvation of this title.
Wandering alone on a desert island, without a precise idea of what to do is not the ideal situation. However, this can change when you equip yourself with good company. Even the worst odyssey can become a fantastic adventure if faced with the right people.
When looking at the graphics in The Survivalists, Team 17 decided on using a pixelated style. This beautiful style took me back in time, to when I held my very first blue Game Boy Advance and inserted the Pokémon Fire Red card. In my personal opinion, this was an excellent decision!
The developers did not focus on stunning graphics, but they chose simplicity in order to bring the focus of the players on the really important progression characteristics. I mean, if these well thought out choices were implemented into the gameplay aspect of the game, then this would have been a much more pleasant experience.
Do you want to try Team 17’s The Survivalists? What do you think of my The Survivalists review on PC? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you interested in more recently released games? Check out our reviews for Port Royale 4, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Crysis Remastered, Going Under, Marvel’s Avengers, and Drake Hollow.
Many good and bad ideas have been included in this exploration title. The result is very confusing, and after a few hours of play, it would not be strange to feel discouraged and abandon the game. However, if, like me, you never leave a book unfinished, you may find that The Survivalists, despite a poor first review, ages well.
- Endless customisation options
- Simple but nice graphics
- Multiplayer mode
- So much confusion
- Difficult to understand goals
- Unclear explanation of possible actions